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SMITE 2 Closed Beta

SMITE 2 Closed Beta

Written by Nathan Carter on 6/11/2024 for PC  
More On: SMITE 2

I have been playing the original SMITE for over 10 years now and it's one of my favorite games of all time, so when SMITE 2 was announced I was extremely excited. Well, for the past month SMITE 2 has had some closed alpha weekends, and I got to spend some time playing the game. I wanted to take my time and after the first two alpha weekends before writing up my thoughts, and for both of them I got a total of about 15 hours of gameplay. If you would like a quick and simple summary of my thought, SMITE 2 is already very fun. It is everything that makes SMITE great while adding some fun updates. That being said, I do feel like this game has a ways to go before it's ready for an open beta.  

First things first, this is 100% a true early alpha of the game. This isn't like Call of Duty or Madden where you get into the "beta" a month before launch and are basically playing a finished version of the game. Right from when you start the game, you are greeted by the Hi-Rez team telling you that is indeed a true alpha and there will be bugs and it's not completely optimized. So any criticisms I have of this game I realize will be rectified as more updates are made. So I figured I would get this out of the way first: This game is very poorly optimized and there are still tons of bugs in the game, some of them game breaking. Like loading into a match where there are only four players on your team and six on the other, framerate drops, and slowdown like crazy. Again it's alpha and this stuff will probably be fixed, but I do feel it should be mentioned. 

SMITE 2 still retains the same basic gameplay as the first game. It's a third person MOBA, with the main game mode Conquest consisting two teams of five on a three lane map. Two players as a support and carry take the duo lane, one player takes the mid lane, another takes the solo lane and the final player will play jungle and rotate through all the lanes, farming camps and helping out in each lane. All three lanes have two towers and a phoenix. Once you take down all three in a single lane you can then attempt to take down the enemy Titan and win the game. The basics of the SMITE formula are here, but there are some new tweaks to the Conquest map.

One new mechanic on the map is the war horn. Located on the solo side of the map you can use the new interact key to activate the war horn. Once activated, a meter will start filling and when it's completely filled, your next wave of minions will be champion minions which are stronger than normal minions. There is also another new mechanic, which are gold caches located around the map. All you've got to do here is just hold the activate key and after a few seconds you can capture it and your entire team will get a gold boost. I like the ideas of these new mechanics, but I wish there was more interactivity to them beyond just holding the interact key. Finally, jungle camps got an update as well. The jungle camps will now level up as the game goes on. They start at level one and the more you kill them, the more they start to level. Once they hit level 2 and 3 they will start dropping more powerful buffs. Some of these camps will actually rotate around the map. The final new mechanic are the tower bounties. When taking down towers they can now drop orbs which can be picked up to give XP and gold. 

The biggest change to the game however and one of my favorite things about SMITE 2 is is how gods aren't grouped into classes anymore. There are no more mages, assassins, guardians etc... Every kit for every god in the game can contain physical damage, magical damage, or both. Their abilities will also now scale from items off of intelligence or strength. For instance, Bacchus - who was a magical guardian in the first game - now has both physical and magical damage in his kit. His belly flop does physical damage which scales off of strength and his belch does magical damage and scales off of intelligence. This means that any character can build both strength and intelligence items and can lead to some really crazy builds. This also means that every character can pretty much play any role. Ymir Jungle, where he's just face punching enemies and doing crazy crit damage, Zeus carry focusing on attack speed; I had a ton of fun playing around with different characters in different roles and they all worked out really well. This will also really help when the full game is released where people won't be forced to play certain ways, especially if it's with a role like guardian or jungle that they don't like or aren't familiar with. 

Another change which is nice for long-time SMITE players is that almost every god in the game got changes to their kits. There were 16 gods available to play in the alpha period. Anhur, Anubis, Athena, Bacchus, Bellona, Cernunnos, Chaac, Fenrir, Kukulkan, Loki, Neith, Odin, Ymir, and Zeus with Hades and Sol added in the second alpha. Most of these characters retain most of their original abilities but gained new ones, such as Ymir's wall now being able to damage enemies, Sol being able to build heat using any of her abilities, Athena being able to dash instantly, Kukulkan being able to dash away quickly when in one of his tornados and Loki instantly going into stealth once he gets a kill. As a longtime player of the first game I absolutely love the changes a lot of these characters have gotten and makes the game feel fresh and not just a rehash of the first game. It makes me extremely excited to see what changes the other SMITE 1 gods will get when they make their way into SMITE 2 and I feel like this is an opportunity to give some original characters some reworks to their kits. 

Now there are two big criticisms I have and something I really hope changes by the time the game launches. The first is that I feel the game is way too slow and not just how long it takes to complete a game. It seems that every part of the game has been slowed down compared to the original SMITE. From movement, to attack speed, lane clears, activating abilities, everything just feels like it's moving like a YouTube video that was put on 0.75 speed. It's not totally unplayable, but something does feel... off about it. Maybe it's just because I have been playing the original game for 10 years now and this very well could just be that it's alpha and something that will be fixed in later updates, but it was this weird feeling I couldn't shake off, especially with Chaac's axe throw. In the first game I know exactly where that axe is going to land and can connect with it almost every time. With SMITE 2, I was missing it so much because by the time it leaves Chacc's hands to the time it hits the target feels like an extra second and that second really matters. 

The other big issue I have is the new item store. I like the new way that we can buy items in how it gives us more freedom to experiment and do some pretty crazy builds, but the whole interface and UI is a complete mess. It's just a gigantic wall of icons with no easy way to see what they do unless you hover over each one and in a MOBA like this, the more time you are away from your lanes, the more farm you are losing and the more space the enemy is putting between their level and yours. Now there are ways to easily get to items such as a search function and the ability to separate items by type like strength, intelligence, life steal, cooldown, etc. I was playing on PC, so I had no problem navigating the item store, but I have seen console players saying it's incredibly tedious and hard to navigate. This is something that I really hope gets streamlined as the game gets updated more and more. I feel like all you really need to see is the tier 3 items like the first game and when you click on one it will then show you which items build into it. This already happens when you click on a tier 3 but still I wish this interface was cleaned up a bit. 

My last concern doesn't really have anything to do with Hi-Rez or the game itself, and that is the community itself. Over the two alpha periods there were very few games that I actually got to finish to completion and that is because the rage quitting and surrendering was absolutely ridiculous, to the point where I'm wondering what is even the point of playing if you aren't going to play. Teammates quitting minutes into the match, endless matches ending at 10 minutes due to surrender. Deserter penalties and bans for leaving games like this first game can't come soon enough. I also really hope that the community has an open mind with this game. If you played a ton of the first SMITE like me, playing this game did feel very familiar. I had to learn the new abilities of the gods but I pretty much knew 95% of how each god worked. The real work is going to be experimenting with builds and learning the new items and I really hope the community doesn't just say "this is too hard" and stops playing right away.  

Overall, SMITE 2 is looking like it's going to be a true sequel to the original. It's not just a graphical overhaul; this is a completely new game and while I did have fun, I do also think that there is a lot of improvements that need to be done before the game is ready to even go into a 24/7 beta. I love all the updates that gods got to their kits, I like the new jungle camps and how they level up over the game, I like the new item system and how it's opened the floodgates to builds we never thought were possible before. But with all that said, I feel like this game really has a long ways to go. However, the team at Hi-Rez seem to be taking the time to get things right, so I do have confidence that this game will be just as fun as the original game. 

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively.  It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 35 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. 

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